Packaging for Aseptic Processing

The most important point to remember is that it must be sterile! All handling of product post-process must be within the sterile environment.

There are 5 basic types of aseptic packaging lines:

  1. Fill and seal: preformed containers made of thermoformed plastic, glass or metal are sterilized, filled in aseptic environment, and sealed
  2. Form, fill and seal: roll of material is sterilized, formed in sterile environment, filled, sealed e.g. tetrapak
  3. Erect, fill and seal: using knocked-down blanks, erected, sterilized, filled, sealed. e.g. gable-top cartons, cambri-bloc
  4. Thermoform, fill, sealed roll stock sterilized, thermoformed, filled, sealed aseptically. e.g. creamers, plastic soup cans
  5. Blow mold, fill, seal:

There are several different package forms that are used in aseptic UHT processing:

  • cans
  • paperboard/plastic/foil/plastic laminates
  • flexible pouches
  • thermoformed plastic containers
  • flow molded containers
  • bag-in-box
  • bulk totes

It is also worth mentioning that many products that are UHT heat treated are not aseptically packaged. This gives them the advantage of a longer shelf life at refrigeration temperatures compared to pasteurization, but it does not produce a shelf-stable product at ambient temperatures, due to the possibility of recontamination post-processing.